WVU’s Silva beginning to find rhythm
Published: Tuesday, September 18, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, September 18, 2012 07:09
Entering this season, West Virginia women’s soccer forward Frances Silva knew head coach Nikki Izzo-Brown was going to rely heavily on her to create an offensive attack and more specifically, score goals.
Silva failed to register a goal three matches into the season but was the Mountaineers’ savior in the fourth game against then No. 1 Stanford.
The junior scored the game’s only goal against The Cardinal, and propelled West Virginia to a win against the number one team in the country.
But after the Stanford game, Silva sputtered offensively, and as Silva struggled, so did the Mountaineers.
Silva did not score a goal during the next four games. Every one of those four games was a double overtime match for the Mountaineers. Three ended in ties while one ended with a loss. West Virginia struggled offensively in each game of the stretch, and registered only five goals total.
With their nonconference schedule winding down and the inaugural Big 12 season on the horizon, Silva had to become an offensive spark for the Mountaineers, and this weekend, the
Overland Park, Kan., native did just that.
The forward scored two goals Friday against Towson and tacked on two more scores Sunday against High Point.
"Frances is very important to us, and sometimes forwards need to break through some things," Izzo-Brown said. "She has struggled finishing some opportunities early on for us, but now, her breaking out of this is really cool, because she can finish anything.
"It is great. She has done it these last two games."
Silva is joined at the forward position by sophomore Kate Schwindel and freshman Kelsie Maloney. While Schwindel leads the Mountaineers offensively, recording a team-high 17 points, it is vital Silva continue to be that No. 2 scoring threat.
"I think it takes a lot of pressure off of Schwindel, and it helps our team win," Silva said. "I think good teams force you to have more than one (scoring option)."
Alongside Schwindel and Silva, freshman forward Kelsie Maloney looks to be a scoring threat as the Mountaineers enter Big 12 Conference play next weekend. The trio looks to complement each other and make defenses wary of their scoring abilities.
"It is important to take the pressure off each other," Silva said. "It helps to spread the attention.
People have to focus on all three of us, and it makes the other team a lot more vulnerable."
To attack the defense’s vulnerability, the West Virginia forwards will use the element of surprise.
"I think the three of us are so dynamic it makes their defense tough to stay with us," Schwindel said. "We are unpredictable sometimes, and I think that is one of our greatest qualities up top, because they never know what’s coming."
However they do it, Izzo-Brown just wants to see Silva and her forwards score goals.
While Silva may have struggled early in the year, Izzo-Brown feels putting the ball in the back of the net is no small task.
"It’s not easy playing forward, and (Silva) is doing what she can control," Izzo-Brown said. "I believe in her."